Gilich: Biloxi needs to put flag issue behind us

The state Attorney General’s office has weighed in on the state flag brouhaha in Biloxi: A proposed ordinance to fly the state flag at all city facilities would be improper since it would bind future leaders.

The opinion, which was received Monday by City Attorney Peter Abide and given to councilmembers today, said, “Resolutions, on the other hand, are in the nature of declarations of the will of the municipality or of the current governing authorities/board and, as such, are not binding on successors in office.”

The AG opined on the issue after Biloxi Councilman Robert L. Deming III in May proposed an ordinance that would have required the state flag to be flown at all Biloxi municipal offices. During the same May meeting, councilmembers voted 4-3 to ask the state to create a new flag because the current one, with its Confederate emblem, “has been appropriated by many people and organizations who have no care or concern about Mississippi – its heritage, its culture or its people – and who use it as a self-serving symbol of a divisive agenda.”

Under the mayor-council form of government, the opinion also states, “the management and operation of municipal buildings are under the control of the mayor and council as a group. The council has the authority to propose and adopt ordinances and resolutions affecting municipal buildings subject to the mayor’s veto.”

The City Council had tabled the ordinance in favor of an Attorney General’s opinion.

“My position is unchanged,” Gilich said. “I stand by the action that was taken on this issue.”
Read the Attorney General’s opinion